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Emilia Sanabria

Anthropologist, Research Fellow, CNRS

Qualified to Direct Research

Contact: emilia.sanabria(at)




Emilia Sanabria is an anthropologist whose research is situated at the crossroads of medical anthropology and Science & Technology Studies (STS). She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge (under the supervision of Marilyn Strathern) a Masters in Environmental Studies from IRD & University of Orléans and a B.Sc. in History and Philosophy of Science from University College London. From 2011 to 2018 she was a Lecturer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, before joining the CNRS as a full-time researcher in October 2018.

Her monnograph "Plastic Bodies: Sex hormones and menstrual suppression in Brazil" was published by Duke University Press in 2016 and awarded the Michelle Z. Rosaldo and Diana Forsythe prizes from the American Anthropological Association.

Emilia Sanabria is currently Principal Investogator (PI) of the ERC-funded project "Healing Encounters: Reinventing an indigenous medicine in the clinic and beyond". This project studies the striking expansion and prolific reinventions of healing practices that make use of the Amazonian herbal brew ayahuasca. You can find more information about HealingEncounters here: 

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 




  • (forth.) 2024. « Epilógo: La Dieta como Método de Investigación » in Lopez Sanchez, José & Mesturini, Silvia. Trabajar con plantas que tienen madre. Diálogos con un Onanya Shipibo. Ciudad de Mexico y Lima: Fineo Editorial.
  • 2023. Futures. The Cambridge Handbook of Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality. McCallum, C. and Posoco, S. (eds). Cambridge University Press. pp624-645
  • 2022. Set, Setting and Clinical Trials: Colonial Technologies and Psychedelics. The Palgrave Handbook for the Anthropology of Technology. Hoeyer, Klaus and Winthereik, Brit Ross (eds), pp291-308
  • 2023 “IntroductionPlotting PhytoFutures.” American Anthropologist. 125(3): 673-678 
  • 2023. Planting the Future. American Anthropologist. 125(3): 701-706
  • 2023. « Drogas Fluidas: revisitando a antropologia dos fármacos. » Ilha, Revista de Antropologia. 25(1):263-285
  • 2023. "Vegetative Value: promissory horizons of therapeutic innovation in the global circulation of ayahuasca." BioSocieties (Special Issue: Making Valuable Health) (16)387-410.
  • 2022. "(Psychedelics) Beyond the “Neuro”." Cultural Anthropology Hot Spots, Fieldsights, 
  • 2020. (with Joseph Dumit) "Fragments on the Demise of the Pharmaceutical." American Ethnologist Anthropological Fantasies After COVID-19
  • 2018. “Endurance and alterability.” Correspondences "Hormones". Cultural Anthropology 
  • 2017. (with Anita Hardon) “Fluid Drugs: Revisiting the Anthropology of Pharmaceuticals.” Annual Review of Anthropology 46 pp117-132
  • 2017. (with Piera Talin) “Ayahuasca’s entwined efficacy: An ethnographic study of ritual healing from ‘addiction’.” International Journal Drug Policy 44 pp23-30
  • 2016. (with Charlotte Brives & Frédéric Le Marcis) “What’s in a Context? Tenses and Tensions in Evidence-Based Medicine.” Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness 35(5)
  • 2016. “Circulating Ignorance: Complexity and Agnogenesis in the Obesity ‘Epidemic’.” Cultural Anthropology 31(1):131–158
  • 2016. (with Ilana Lowy) “The biomedicalization of Latin-American bodies.” Manguinhos: História, Ciências, Saúde 23(1):11-18
  • 2016Plastic Bodies: Sex hormones and menstrual suppression in Brazil. Experimental Futures Series. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.


  • « PhytoEncounters Living Labs for more-than-human research » (2024-2027)
  • Principal Investigator of the ERC « Healing Encounters: Reinventing an indigenous medicine in the clinic and beyond » (2018-2024)
  • (with Mounia El Kotni) « Vécus et Pratiques autour du PostPartum: perspectives internationales»Institut de la personne en médecine, Université de Paris Cité (2023)
  • (with Fanny Chabrol, Divine Fuy & Claire Beaudevin) « The Future of Hospitals. Thinking through Scenarios from the Global South, Epistemic questions and methodological experimentations »Global Research Institute of Paris (2023-2024)
  • « Les enjeux sociaux de la nutrition : perspectives anthropologiques », INSERM, ENS de Lyon (2011-2016) 


  • MULTISCALAR RESEARCH DESIGN DOCTORAL SUMMER SCHOOL with Anita Hardon, Piera Talin andClaire Beaudevin ; July 2024, Netherlands
  • CHALLENGES & AFTERMATHS OF THE SCALAR: Plants, Microbes & Pollutants – International Symposium co-organised with Jean-Paul Gaudillière & Charlotte Brives (Paris, 19-21 Juin 2024) 
  • MultiDimensional Research Design in Social Studies of Health, residential seminar (21-24 May 2024)
  • HealingEncounters residential writing seminar, Salvador da Bahia, Brésil (22 Feb- 1st March 2024)
  • SANTÉ, CORPORÉITÉS, ENVIRONNEMENTS workshop with members of CERMES3's Axe 3 (La santé à l’ère de la crise environnementale globale) and of the ERC Advanced Grant Embodied Ecologies (WUR), Villejuif, 8 Nov 2023
  • TARI IBIRANAI Ecoacoustic residential workshop, Acre, Brazil, with Iba Sales (MAHKU) & Denis Chartier (UPC), July 2023
  • HOLDING COMPLEX ENCOUNTERS: RELATING IN DIFFERENCE Open Panel Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) Cholula, Mexico Dec 2022
  • THEORIZING ENCOUNTERS Residential workshop (30th May – 3rd June 2022)
  • OTHERWISE AYAHUASCAS Immersive Speculative residency (21-25th Feb 2022)
  • PHYTO-FUTURES International Symposium co-organised with Silvia Mesturini (Oct 2021)
  • Immersive Collaborative Residency at the Indigenous research centre SHIPIBORAO with José Lopez Sanchez & Silvia Mesturini (Octobre 2021)
  • WRITING NEW WORLDS Speculative Residency at UrsuLab Bourges, 18-22 Jan. 2021
  • Organiser & discussant of the panel BRINGING THE LAB TO AYAHUASCA, Interdisciplinary Conference Psychedelic Research (ICPR2020) 24-27th Sept 2020
  • PLACE BEYOND SPACE: Rethinking “Setting” Workshop (online, 17th July 2020)
  • MULTISCALAR RESEARCH DESIGN residential workshop with Kris Peterson (UC Irvine), Valerie Olson (UC Irvine), Claire Beaudevin (CNRS), Denis Chartier (UPC), Fanny Chabrol (IRD), Sophie Houdart (CNRS), Silvia Mesturini (CNRS), Piera Talin (CNRS), Mariana Rios (CNRS), Charlotte Brives (CNRS), Joe Dumit (UC Davis) & Kaushik Sunder Rajan (U Chicago) Sept 2019
  • Co-organiser of the conference « PHARMAKÔN: Mondes empoisonnés, approches anthropologiques ». Musée des Confluences, Lyon 19-20 octobre 2017
  • FLUID DRUGS Open Panel au Congrès de la 4S (Society for the Social Studies of Science). Denver, Nov. 2015
  • PRODUIRE DU SAVOIR, GOUVERNER DES POPULATIONS (co-organisé avec C.Brives, & F.Le Marcis) les 10-13 Sept 2013, à l’ENS de Lyon


  • (with P. Benedito) “Brazil – A Psychedelic Nation?” In the Panel Engineering Equity: The New Pragmatics of Global Health Innovation organized by Ann H. Kelly (King’s College London) & Alice Street (University of Edinburgh) 16-18 Nov 2023 American Anthropological Association Annual meeting 2023
  • (with P. Benedito) « Psychedelic Nation? Deprovincializing the psychedelic renaissance from Brazil » dans le Workshop International « Il y a des alternatives : innovation & modèles de développement des médicaments » organisé par Charlotte Brives & Koichi Kamada, dans le cadre de l’ANR Anthropo-Phages, Université de Bordeau (11-13 oct 2023).    
  • (with S. Mesturini) “Collaborations autochtones et recherches spéculatives” Séminaire general du CERMES3, séance du cycle recherches participatives, 13 janvier 2023
  • (with P. Benedito, I. de Rose, P. Talin) “Future Ayahuasca Care Spaces: An Experimental Speculative Exercise" in the Holding Complex Encounters: Relating in Difference Open Panel, 4S, Dec 2022, Cholula Mexico
  • (with J. Dumit) “Psychedelic Clinical Trials as Colonial Technologies” at the University of California Berkeley Townsend Center for the Humanities’ Psychedelics, Neuroscience and Religion research group seminar. 24th May 2022.
  • (avec Denis Chartier) « Prendre soin : Méthodologies de la relation » au Centre d’Art-Science contemporain Antre-Peaux à Bourges dans le cadre de l’inauguration du biomédialab UrsuLab en Décembre 2021
  • « Healing (Colonial) Encounters After Epistemicide » paper at the Exeter Decolonizing the Philosophy and Anthropology of Psychedelics Seminar, May 2021
  • “Extracting Ayahuasca, Crafting Settings for Health under Brazilian Settler Colonialism” paper presented in the Diseased Landscapes: Health & Illness in Territories of Extraction panel 4S 2021 (Society for Social Studies of Science 4S International Conference)  
  • « Crafting Settings for Otherwise Health » Rencontres Open Source Body organisées par ART4MED (art meets health and biomedical research) à la Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris (20-23 mai 2021)
  • « Imagining Otherwise Encounters After Epistemicide » Invited paper at the Sacred Plants in the Americas II International Conference (April 23-25 2021)
  • (with Mesturini, S.) « Vegetal Encounters » Invited paper at the University of Ottawa’s Planthropolab (janvier 2021) 
  • Pharmaceuticalizing Ayahuasca : Value, Appropriation and Tensions “Culture, Medicine, and Power Conversations” Kings College London Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (Nov. 2020, online)
  • « Speaking Plants: decolonial perspectives on ayahuasca, animism and healing » Invited Speaker at the Bodies in Trouble Conference, PACT Zolleverein, Essen Germany (10-14 July 2019) 
  • Translating and transmitting the spirit of the forest: lessons for survival in the Anthropocene from the Huni Kuin people (with Ibã Dua Bake Huni Kuin and Dani Pinheiro Sales Kaxinawa). World Ayahuasca Conference III, Girona, 31st May – 2ndJune 2019.
  • “Healing Encounters: Ayahuasca and the Politics of Knowledge.” Invited presentation in the Plant Medicine Track. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Science (MAPS) Conference, Oakland, CA, April 2017.

PhD Supervision

In preparation

  • Piera Talin : The entwined efficacy of ayahuasca : an ethnographic study of the circulation of neotraditional urban healing rituals (viva planned for Nov. 2023)

  • Elise BRUNEL Corporéités, transformations et expériences de guérison : une ethnographie de la pratique immersive du Qigong. Inscription en Année préparatoire au doctorat (APD) sept 2023


  • Carla Donoso The cultural construction of women's aging. Confronting meanings, experiences and practices in early 21st century Chile (co-supervised with Prof Anita Hardon), University van Amsterdam. Viva 8 février 2023

  • Swasti Mishra Ways of knowing: non/medical explorations and the psychedelic world. (co-supervised with Anita Hardon), University van Amsterdam. Viva 5 Oct 2020

  • Mariana Rios Generation Guinea Pigs: On youth and everyday toxicity in late industrial times (co-supervised with Prof Anita Hardon), University van Amsterdam. Viva: 22 février 2019

Post-doctoral Researchers Supervised 

  • Mariana Rios Sandoval (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CERMES3) « Féminismes contemporains et nouvelles écologies contraceptives » (2019-2021)

  • Silvia Mesturini (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CERMES3) « Healing in the Forest » (2019-2022)

  • Pietro Benedito (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CERMES3) « Provincializing the Psychedelic Renaissance from the Global South » (2020-2023)

  • Isabel De Rose (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CERMES3) « Ayahuasca Knowledge Encounters » (2022-2023)

  • Aniara Rodado (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CERMES3) « Relations transpécifiques et épistémicides dans le Capitalocène » (2022-2023)

  • Mounia El Kotni (PostDoctorat de la Ville de Paris) « Beyond birth: the politics of postpartum care in Mexico» (2022-2023)

  • Chris Elcock (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CERMES3) « « Histoire et tradition dans la recherche psychédélique contemporaine » (2018-2019)

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